Two Days After Election, Crystal Lake High School District Announces Fee Increases for Books & Athletics

Crystal Lake Central High School

When we moved to Crystal Lake in 1958, I was a junior in high school and my sister was a freshman.

Our family had lived in Maryland, Utah and New York State before coming here.

We were astounded that the Crystal Lake High School system charged for books.

They were free in the other three states.

Prairie Ridge High School

Now, two days after a new high school board majority backed by the teacher union was elected, defeating candidates who said they would cut taxes, District 155 send an email to parents telling them fees were going up.

As a former employee of the United States Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Management and Budget), I know that one can balance a budget buy cutting expenses or raising revenue.

South High School bleackers.

The High School Board obviously decided on raising revenue.

Here is the announcement:

D155 Student Fee Increases

by Shannon Podzimek in

Church Lady says, “Isn’t that special?”

Recently, district administration completed an examination of all student fees.

The student fee structure also was compared to surrounding districts in the area.

The board, using its public committee forums, met about the student fee structure and were mindful of how the fee increases would affect our families.

During the March board meeting, the board approved a student fee structure for the next three years, which includes increases from

  • $155 to $225 in 2017-18 and
  • 2018-19, and
  • $225 to $255 in 2019-20.

There will be a discounted rate for those families that pay the fee prior to the first day of school.

During our analysis of the fee structure, D155 was one of the only districts in the area to not charge an athletic fee.

Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the board approved a $50 athletic fee.

Additionally, the board also instituted student and family maximums to assist families whose students’ participate in multiple sports and/or have multiple student-athletes.

The athletic fee will increase by $25 in 2018-19 and again in 2019-20.

Individual and family maximums will increase accordingly.

Families who qualify and apply for fee waivers will not need to pay registration or athletic fees.


Two Days After Election, Crystal Lake High School District Announces Fee Increases for Books & Athletics — 39 Comments

  1. Crystal Lake High School District 155



    2017 – 2018: Hike from $155 to $225 (45% increase)

    2018 – 2019: Fees remain at $225.

    2019 – 2020: Hike from $225 to $255 (65% hike over 2016 – 2017 fees, and 15% hike from 2018 – 2019 fees).


    Is there currently a discount schedule for those that pay prior to the first day of school?

    Or is that a new policy?


    Beginning in 2017 – 2018, there will be a $50 athletic fee.

    There was previously no athletic fee.



    2017 – 2018 Athletic Fee “Hike”: From $0 to $50 (infinity percent increase).

    2018 – 2019 Athletic Fee Hike: From $50 to $75 (50% increase).

    2019 – 2020 Athletic Fee Hike: From $75 to $100 (100% increase from 2017 – 2018, and 33% increase from 2018 – 2019, to 2019 to 2020).

  2. athletic fee?

    I better not have to pay to go and watch my kids play a v-ball game!!

    We are done with this bull!!

  3. It is a student athletic fee.

    Meaning, the student pays a fee to participate in a sport.


    Students only will have to pay for two sports, and the schedule caps the maximum that families with multiple athletes will have to pay at

    – $200 (2017 – 2018)

    – $300 (2018 – 2019)

    – $400 (2019 – 2020).


    Northwest Herald

    District 155 Announces Significant Fee Increases Starting Next Year

    April 7, 2017

    by Kevin Craver

  4. Crystal Lake High School District 155

    D155 Student Fee Increases

    April 6, 2017

    by Shannon Podzimek


    There are 4 categories of fees at CHSD 155:

    – Registration Fee

    – Athletic Fee

    – Driver Education Fee

    – Student Parking Fee


    Retiring teachers in CHSD 155 receive an post employment (thus non pensionable) bonus (subject to certain stipulations), in addition to an pension.

    Details of that are in the teacher collective bargaining agreement located on the district website.

  5. The pot of gold at the end of that rainbow is the Teachers and Administrators guaranteed public sector pensions.

    When will the Democrats give the voters a chance to change the Constitution?

  6. They were definitely not mindful of how this would affect families.

    Not all at! This athletic fee will keep kids from participating in sports too.

    I’d also like to know exactly how the fees from this so called sports fee will be divided among the different sports or will it go mostly to just the one sport like always?

    When was this public forum held that the superintendent spoke about?

    I certainly did not get an email or letter concerning this.

    I’d expect that very soon our taxes will be going up dramatically for this district so teachers can have more raises and benefits and Thomas can hire more administrators to do his job.


  7. And I am in total agreement with ss, they better not charge an entrance fee for any sports activity ever again.

  8. This is a reason taxpayers should insist a board agenda packet be posted for all school board meetings.

    If that were the case, the proposed fee schedule would have been in the agenda packet, prior to the board meeting.

    So at least community members can scan through the agenda packet to get an idea of what is being proposed.


    Paul Serwatka got a board agenda packet acted in the Village of Lakewood.

    The Village of Lakewood is a much smaller unit of government than CHSD 155.


    An agenda packet is different than an agenda.

    An agenda packet contains the agenda, plus all the documents to be discussed at the board meeting.

    A board agenda packet is a necessary taxpayer transparency measure for taxpayers to better understand what will be discussed and vote don at board meetings.

    There is no legitimate excuse for CHSD 155 to not have a board agenda packet, but give post retirement bonuses to teachers who will already receive a Cadillac pension.

  9. We need legislation that requires honest and open transparency relative to ANY connection between a candidate for School Board and ANYONE ever involved in the education industry.

    In addition I have a REAL problem with my tax dollars (teacher union dues and teacher contributions to PACs) being used in school board campaigns.

  10. We had to purchase our own textbooks and supplies at New Trier East High School.

    I’m all for putting as much of the educational costs on the parents as the law will allow.

    More often than not, they are the ones behind the referendums to increase school taxes on all of us.

  11. What a joke.

    The second line from the press release is comical; the board rubber stamped the latest Union contract full well knowing that salaries in 155 are close to 20% higher than the surrounding areas.

    Now that the union has taken over the board prepare to grab your ankles. It’s only going to get worse.

    Much, much worse.

  12. Mark, Pay to Play is going strong in District 155, wouldn’t you say.

  13. As I understand the fee, it is for allowing the student to participate in the sport.

  14. Have been writing for years about no board agenda packets at CHSD 155 board meetings.

    One purpose of a labor union is to maximize labor pay and benefits.

    Cannot rely on elected school board members, school board policy, state law, and Federal law to be the sole counters to labor unions attempting to maximize their pay and benefits.

    Taxpayers can organize and advocate for themselves, or just pay the price in taxes for not doing so.

  15. Final four should have easily won.

    Unions unite stupid voters and never underestimate stupid people in numbers.

  16. Ummmm…

    The new board doesn’t start for another month, so they had nothing to do with the raises and new charges except for one that was an incumbent Dave Secrest.

    Please Cal stop misleading people because you’re a sore loser.

  17. Of course, the newly-elected officials had nothing to do with the fee increases.

    However announcing the fee increases before the election would have added votes to those calling for lower taxes, don’t you think?

  18. Elections are about relative turnout.

    It is obvious that the teacher coalition had more at stake financially that the average home owner.

  19. “Now, two days after a new high school board majority backed by the teacher union was elected, defeating candidates who said they would cut taxes, District 155 send an email to parents telling them fees were going up.”


    I believe you know that this paragraph is entirely misleading to the public, and many people have posted statements that corroborate my accusation as obviously they think the new board the day after they’ve been elected are responsible for this.

    As to your other comment:

    I feel the whole community had something at stake that resonated with the people of Crystal Lake and Cary: PROPERTY VALUES!

    If you destroy the educational systems of this community by starving it of funds to save $20-$50 dollars on your tax bill you will create a community that no one wants to move to.

    Crystal Lake has always recycled itself because young families move in, while older couples move out.

    This community does not become old, but instead it consistently reinvigorates and reinvents itself because of our schools.

    People go away to college and come back to Crystal Lake to raise their kids, because they want their own kids to have the same experiences they did growing up.

    I think people realize that some cuts need to be made, and they will but to accuse the sitting union backed board members and the new ones of rubber stamping contracts and costing tax payers a great deal more money on their taxes is grossly false and untrue.

    You should be talking about the real issue: the state of Illinois and it’s lack of funding to education.

    That’s why your tax bill has gone up!

    We need to support our schools and note bite the hand that feeds us.

    After all no one will move to Crystal Lake and Cary because of route 14.

  20. The blog article is accurate.

    No one is claiming the new board is responsible for fee hikes.


    Many factors affect property values.

    The educational system will not be destroyed be reigning in costs.

    Claims such as that are sometimes made when there is an attempt to reign in costs of school districts.

    If people find the price of anything is too high, they have a choice of buying elsewhere, and the same is true of taxes.


    If more state revenue for education is desired, the best solution for taxpayers is pension reform.

    The pensions were hiked by:

    – legislators and Governors hiking pension benefits, when the pension system was already underfunded (the TRS pension system has never been fully funded).

    – local school districts hiking salaries.


    A subset of local school districts hiking salaries, was diverting pension funding to General State Aid.

    General State Aid is the primary state funding source to school districts.

    In school district budgets, the primary recipient of General State Aid is typically the Education Fund.

    The primary expenditure in the Education Fund is teacher salaries.

    That allows General State Aid funds to be used for hiking salaries and hiring more teachers.

    In addition to being the largest expenditure in the education fund, teacher salaries are the largest expenditure in a school district budget.


    Taking into account state and local funding, Illinois (the whole state) expenditures attributed to public education per student are roughly in the top 25%.

    Each state is unique in how it funds public education.

    In Illinois, more so than most other states, education funding is heavily reliant on property taxes.

    The more property tax rich a school district, the less money the school district receives from the state.


    Typically the annual amount the State contributes to the TRS pension system (teacher and administrator pension system) is not included in the per student expenditures.

    Adding that contribution, which is billions of dollars per year, and the per student expenditures increase.

    The per student expenditures reported by the Illinois State Board of Education and on public websites do not include the annual state contribution to the TRS pension fund.


    The TRS pension system is a scam.

    Want more money for public education, reform the pension scam.

  21. @misinformationslayer – I agree with many of your comments.

    We do need great schools to retain and attract families to Crystal Lake but I also think Crystal Lake is now at a dangerous tipping point where any additional hit to property taxes is bad news for our property values and will lead to fewer families moving here.

    This is already happening, right?

    Enrollment is already down in d155 and expected to become worse.

    I believe I saw some recent statistics showing that the important 25-45 demographic in this area is decreasing dramatically.

    If our schools are driving growth in Crystal Lake, why is enrollment decreasing?

    Could it be because property taxes are so high and young families can find better value (good schools and good local amenities at a reasonable tax burden) elsewhere?

    You mentioned that young people will move back to Crystal Lake to raise their families.

    Is this your observation?

    If so, my observation is just the opposite.

    I have a business in town and most people that I know who have raised families in Crystal Lake have stated that their kids/grandchildren have not returned to this area because of property taxes, better job opportunities, and a better quality of life elsewhere.

    Believe me, I do not want to see the quality of our schools decline in any way but, I believe the cost to educate a typical student in d155 has increased dramatically in the last 8 years while test scores have remained about the same.

    I am also concerned that one of the union backed candidates did not rule out the possibility of closing a high school.

    I read this in the NW Herald candidate interviews.

    This really concerns me when there appears to be room to make other adjustments to reign in costs, other than closing a school.

    Closing a high school, in my opinion, would be catastrophic to Crystal Lake and would send a sign to prospective home owners that we are a failing community.

    Young families will be “turned off” with this scenario.

    The tax-cutting group stated they were against closing a high school and would pursue other options.

    My other concern is that we now have teachers/spouses/relatives of teachers on both the d47 and d155 boards.

    For years, I have been listening to d47 teachers complain about the difference in their salaries compared to d155 teachers.

    Now that we have two d155 teachers on the d47 board (who have wives that are d47 teachers) will we see a push to change to a unit district?

    Will this mean that all d47 teachers will be moved up to d155 salaries (which are already high compared to most high school salaries)?

    If that is the case, will local property taxes explode to fund this?

    A unit district might make sense in a state that adequately funds its schools, but that is not the case in Illinois and this will not be the case in the foreseeable future.

    In my opinion, if the school districts and the union-backed board members continue to contribute to escalating property taxes in Crystal Lake, we will not be able to reinvent ourselves any longer.

    Our state sucks, I agree, but our local school boards must proceed with caution, prudence, and with the future of their communities in mind.

    The union backed group cannot act in a self-serving way and continue to ask local taxpayers to pay for administrative and teacher benefits that the taxpayer cannot afford for their own families (retirement savings, college savings, health insurance, etc.).

  22. Are you suggesting that parents’ getting an email saying their high school students’ costs would increase next year would not have resulted to fewer voters for the teacher union endorsed candidates?

    If so, I disagree.

  23. My compassionate conservative friends can’t stop crying “freedom is not free.” They have a hard time, however, applying the same principle to education. We know them too well. National Teacher’s Appreciation week is fast approaching. Join me and thousands of others in McHenry county as we thank our good teachers for their hard work all around this beautiful and diverse county. Tic tock, tic tock…

  24. Dear sunshine tax-fighter blogger: Please accept a fraternal online progressive hug from a friend. When will we see the next story about guns and ugly felines? Tic tock…

  25. Angel you are an example of the Teacher’s Union and gives the good teachers a bad name.

    When the good teachers take a stand you might be the first to be shunned. Tic Tock . . .

  26. When is National Taxpayer Appreciation week.

    Thank taxpayers for funding pay hikes and Cadillac pensions.

    Well the taxpayers were never notified in easy to understand terms before the hikes were passed, so how could they weigh in on the measures.

    When is National Government Transparency week.

    The pension, retiree healthcare, & debt bomb is ticking away.

    No worries, if people stay to pay the tax hikes that will be required.

    In the meantime, keep enjoying pay hikes in one of the best paying high school districts in the state (Maine Township District 207 in Des Plaines / Park Ridge), while taxpayers in all parts of the state get stuck with the pension IOU.

    Educators and elected politicians sure have a hard time educating taxpayers about all those pension benefit hikes, salary hikes, stipend hikes, benefit hikes, etc.

    In Crystal Lake High School District 155 they can’t even produce a board agenda packet with all the documents to be discussed and voted on at the school board meetings.

  27. Cal,

    Are you saying there was some kind of collusion between the old and the new board on when to release this.

    If so that’s not reality, and couldn’t be any further from the truth.

    Secondly, wouldn’t you agree the only way to make the loss at this point after two tax abatements by the current board of D155 to save people tax money is to raise these costs?

    Nobody likes it, but the alternative is raising everyone’s taxes.


    There are so many things left out in what you said that it is hard for me to know where to respond. I’ll start with TRS.

    You claim that it has been a horrible thing for the state to have a system that provides retirement for it’s teachers that they pay 11% into by the way.

    They also don’t collect social security, however the biggest thing you left out was the fact the the state of Illinois have decided to defer funds from TRS for the last 30 years!!!

    Not to mention the state has borrowed and even stolen at times money from TRS.

    With all this being said “TRS unfunded liability is a long–term concern — think decades — and should not be confused with the annual obligations of the System.

    It would be like confusing a family’s “mortgage” with the “mortgage payment.”

    TRS has carried an unfunded liability since 1939 and yet has never missed a pension payment to any member because of the unfunded liability.”

    Please stop trying to make the claim the system is broken because of crooked teachers and administrators gaming the system together, this may happen with some, but definitely not even close to the majority.


    So please step out of the big bad union teacher fantasy land of bloated salaries and massive pensions and step into reality.


    I agree taxes are high here, but for the families that live here it is a real bargain because their children get a 1st rate private school like education that many other people in other communities have to pay for on top of their taxes.

    So instead just paying your property taxes you’re also paying 10,000 to 20,000 for private school per kid!

    This housing crash was deeper than that of the Great Depression and because it was so deep the states with big cities like New York and Chicago take the longest to recover because of their sheer volume of homes, town homes, and apartments.

    Both cities will come back and Crystal Lake is already showing signs of this!

    Home values are up nearly 7%.


    This is temporary as K-2 grades are packed with students.

    Crystal Lake will come back, but we must ride out the storm.

    D155 has been extremely responsible to tax payers for quite sometime, and I agree there have been recent expenditures and actions by the current board that have been questionable, the new board will prove their merit and write the ship!

  28. From a piece written in 2014!!!!…”TRS cannot invest its way out of the current underfunded liability created by decades of state funding shortfalls.” Hmm. Maybe you should rethink your rant, misinformationslayer.

  29. What you are missing is that it was the teacher unions who urged the General Assembly not to contribute to the Teachers Retirement System, but, rather, put that money into State Aid to Education…which, of course, led to higher salaries and higher pensions

    Each Governor’s education budget has three parts:

    1) k-12

    2) higher education

    3) pension payments

    Transfer from planned teacher pensions to State Aid to Education led to TRS being shorted.

    Don’t for a minute think that union leaders were not urging legislative leaders to shift the priorities laid out by gubernatorial budgets.

  30. Cindy:

    It’s not a rant, but instead an intellectual response. As for your evidence you provided are you seriously citing one source and declaring fact? It’s called corroborated evidence you should try it sometime. Does TRS need the promised funding from the state to stay intact of course it does, but it is not in the dire straits narrative that you wish to create.


    I don’t disagree with you that there were union representatives that were looking out for the best interests of their association members, but to believe that they and they only benefited from deferred payment after deferred payment for decades is a lie.

    How about our efficient highway ipass toll system and countless other things built to benefit the masses instead of paying into TRS.

    This game has been played by all and just about everyone has benefited in some way.

  31. Never said a teacher pension is a bad thing.


    Teachers and administrators don’t contribute 11% to the TRS teacher & administrator pension fund.

    Teachers contribute 9% to the pension fund, unless the board picks up some or all of that contribution, in what is known as board paid TRS.

    That 9% is broken down as follows:

    7.5% – retirement benefits

    0.5% – COLA (cost of living allowance)

    1.0% – Survivor benefits (A member with no surviving dependents can apply for a refund of survivor contributions).


    Teachers and administrators previously contributed .4% to Early Retirement Option (ERO), but that sunsetted effective July 1, 2016, because the General Assembly did not renew it. Teachers and administrators whom did not participate in ERO at retirement were eligible to receive a refund of their ERO contributions.


    The state of Illinois “deferred” contributing to TRS since the inception of TRS.

    Was the priority of the teacher unions to lobby for full funding of TRS?


    The priority of the teacher unions (IEA, IFT) was to hike benefits, and have more funding go to General State Aid, and for retiree healthcare benefit hikes, etc.


    If the teachers retire before eligible, they are entitled to receive their contributions back.

    Plus interest?


    The average teacher pension is $48K…for how many years worked…nd at what full time equivalent (FTE).

    What is the source of that statistic?


    Average teacher pay for those retiring from CHSD 155 and every other school district in McHenry County including little Riley in the southeast corner of the county is higher than $48K for a full “career” of 35 years of service.

    Does someone receive full Social Security benefits after working 35 years?



    “Years of service” is different than “years worked.”

    Teachers can exchange up to 340 unused sick days for “years of service” credit.

    Where other than Illinois TRS can an employee accumulate up to 340 unused sick days?

    And exchange those sick days at retirement for years of service credit, allowing one to retire earlier?

    Can that be done in Social Security?



    A teacher year in TRS is 170 days.


    Have posted many pension statistics on this blog of TRS pensions and they are well over $48K for a full career.


    In the majority of school districts in Illinois, teachers and administrators contribute little to nothing to their pension fund.

    That is due to “board paid TRS” also known as “pension pickup.”

    It is a perk negotiated into administrator contracts and collective bargaining agreements.

    Do employers ever “pick up” the employee contribution to Social Security?



    Teachers and administrators beginning their career after January 1, 2011 are in Tier II.

    Tier II has lower benefits than Tier I.


    The collective bargaining agreement for CHSD 155 indicates the board (i.e. school district i.e. taxpayer) will pay the following:

    – 4.2% of the employee (teacher) contribution to TRS (4.2% of the 9%).

    – 0.5000% of the teacher’s salary into the Teachers’ Health Insurance Security Fund (THIS) for health insurance. That is for the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP). Thus the board/district/taxpayer is picking up employee contribution. THIS / TRIP was established in 1995, and apparently was signed into law in 1993 or so.


    One resource to learn more about TRS is Illinois Pension Scam by Bill Zettler, available on in paperback and in Kindle.


    Chicago is in very bad financial condition.


    There are many pension systems that are specific only to Chicago.


    The Chicago residential property tax rate is lower than just about anywhere else in the Chicagoland area.

    The Chicago Tribune ran an article on November 13, 2015 titled, “Look up your effective property tax rate (database) by Hal Dardick and Kyle Bentle.

    The effective property tax rate (property taxes as a percentage of home vale, as opposed to a percentage of EAV) for Chicago was listed as 1.86%.

    Only 6 of 389 communities were lower (Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Burr Ridge, Willowbrook, and Oak Brook).

    Crystal Lake (Nunda & Dorr Township portions) was 4.14%.

    Crystal Lake (Algonquin Township portion) was 4.13%.

    Crystal Lake (Grafton Township portion) was 4.07%.


    What is the source of the statistic that home values are up nearly 7%.

    7% from what date to what date?


    There are plenty or mortgages in Crystal Lake that are underwater (more is owed on the mortgage than the property is valued).


    Not sure if there are statistics for Crystal Lake specifically, but the Illinois Policy Institute and other sources have written many stores that there is a net migration loss in McHenry County.

    In a March 23, 2017 article, Michael Lucci of the Illinois Policy Institute wrote a column titled, “Cook County has largest population loss of any county in the U.S.”

    In that article, it was noted that the domestic migration for McHenry County from July 2015 – July 2016 was negative 1,589 people.

    That is 1,589 more people moved out of the county, than into the county.

    There are other stories including births and deaths with people moving in and people moving out, Illinois is losing population.

    The article stated that the out migration was great enough to cause the county to shrink in total population (total population loss includes births and deaths).


    School districts study enrollment projections every few years.

    Cary Elementary District 26, Prairie Grove Elementary District 46, Crystal Lake Elementary District 47, and Crystal Lake High School District 155 (includes Cary Grove High School) jointly funded a study performed by John Kasarda, a Consulting Demographer, that was updated October 11, 2015, titled, “Demographic Trends and Enrollment Projections.”

    The 108 page report is available via Google search.

    The following information about CHSD 155 is from that report.

    “Total high school enrollment rose to 7,134 students in Fall 2009.

    Since the, District 155’s total enrollment has declined, registering 6,522 students early this September.”


    7,134 – 6,522 = 612 less students, which is a 9% decrease CHSD students from 2009 to 2015.


    “District 155 will experience declines in total enrollment for the next ten years before beginning to stabilize at about 1,300 students below its current enrollment.”


    Has District 155 made that clear to taxpayers?

  32. misinformation? Your idea of what constitutes intellectual is serious flawed. Your emotional rant was filled with nonsense that comes from your particular world view and has nothing to do with intellect. Cal and I pointed out some information that you immediately refused out of hand. Tell me again how thoughtful and intellectual your post is while you can’t even consider what other learned people are saying to you.

  33. TRS is in miserable shape.

    As of June 30, 2015, TRS was 42% funded.

    Thus, it was 58% underfunded.

    There is zero investment return on that 58%.

    That is because the investment return on zero, is zero.

    The unfunded liability in dollars was $62,686,600,000 ($62 billion dollars) as of June 30, 2015.

    That is $62 billion dollars that should be in the TRS pension fund, but is not, as of June 30, 2015.

    That is a $62 billion taxpayer IOU to the TRS pension fund, as of June 30, 2015.


    What would the investment return be on $62 billion dollars?

    $62,000,000,000 x .07 = $4,340,000,000.

    Thus, instead of the TRS pension fund earning a $4 billion dollar return, taxpayers owe an additional $4 billion.


    As of June 30, 2015, the smoothed assets were $45,435,200,000.


    On August 26, 2016 the TRS board chose 7% as the latest investment return target (discount rate).

  34. The politicians that followed the wishes of the union leaders certainly benefited by way of political contributions and campaign workers.

    The tollway is pretty much user-funded and not paid for with General Fund dollars that could have gone to fund pensions. (State right-of-way was transferred from IDOT to the Tollway without payment, something I revealed as was prominently reported.)

  35. Cal,

    This shell game of diverting funds to other programs has been going on since 1959!

    Please I understand that education benefited, but so did health care, road, infrastructure, or YOU GUESSED IT TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM TAX INCREASES!!!

    Now Cal that benefited everyone directly, and only hurt teachers in the long run.

    I’m not here to argue that the pension system has not become a mess, but be careful who you put the blame on!

    I don’t think you were complaining in the past and youre not complaining now every time they don’t raise your tax bill more to kick the TRS can down the road.

    Teachers have little bed up to their end of the bargain for years, it’s high time the state lived up to its.

    Here are a couple of really good articles that explain how Illinois got into this mess.


    It was not 9% until last year when they got rid of ERO and before that it was 9.4%. I was citing incorrectly the 11% from the failed pension bargain.

    TRS theft

  36. My memory does not go back to 1959.

    I know how pension money was diverted to State Aid to Education more recently, however, and why it happened.

  37. Never wrote it was 9% until last year.

    You just wrote that at 7:33PM.

    Read what was written at 5:21PM.

    “Teachers contribute 9% to the pension fund, unless the board picks up some or all of that contribution, in what is known as board paid TRS.

    That 9% is broken down as follows:

    7.5% – retirement benefits

    0.5% – COLA (cost of living allowance)

    1.0% – Survivor benefits (A member with no surviving dependents can apply for a refund of survivor contributions).


    Teachers and administrators previously contributed .4% to Early Retirement Option (ERO), but that sunsetted effective July 1, 2016, because the General Assembly did not renew it.

    Teachers and administrators whom did not participate in ERO at retirement were eligible to receive a refund of their ERO contributions.”


    Let’s make it super clear.

    Prior to July 1, 2016, teachers contributed (assuming there was no board paid TRS aka pension pickup):

    7.5% – retirement benefits

    0.5% – COLA (cost of living allowance)

    1.0% – Survivor benefits (A member with no surviving dependents can apply for a refund of survivor contributions).

    0.4% – Early Retirement Option (ERO). Teachers and administrators whom did not participate in ERO at retirement were eligible to receive a refund of their ERO contributions.

    9.4% – Total.

    Note: If survivor benefits and ERO were not utilized, members were eligible for a refund.

    Since the survivor benefit contribution is 1.0%, and the ERO contribution was .4%, members at retirement not participating in survivor benefits or ERO were eligible for a 1.4% refund.

    9.4% – 1.4% = 8.0%.

    Thus teachers and administrators whom at retirement did not utilize survivor benefits and ERO, and requested a refund, would have effectively contributed 8.0% to their pension.

    And once again, that 8% would be the maximum for that category.

    It would be less than 8% if there was board paid TRS (pension pickup).


    The teacher unions were the most powerful lobbying group for decades in Springfield.

    If the teacher unions wanted fully funded pensions, they would have lobbied for fully funded pensions, and not lobbied for benefit hikes.

    The teacher unions would have made the issue very public.

    But that’s not what happened.

    The teacher unions lobbied for and received benefit hikes, when the pensions were already funded.

    Most of the the history of the benefit hikes is in the TRS document, Evolution of the TRS Benefit Structure.


  38. There is a simple solution for those who find crystal lakes taxes too high.


    McHenry, Woodstock, Huntley and Algonquin surround us and have plenty of properties for sale.

    Let those of us who want good schools, improved libraries and high property values remain to carry that cost.

    Nothing is worse then old people complaining AFTER making sure their kids got a D155 education.
    The rest of us want the same for our kids coming in.

    Teachers would make far more if they were actually paid for just “babysitting” their students. 5 classes per day x 30 kids per class x $10/hr/ kid =$1500 per day.

    The school year is 182 school days. $1500 x 182= $273,000 should be their yearly salary.

    But you also want them to TEACH what you can’t or don’t want to- calculus, AP biology, Theatre, Football, Business, how to read and write and appropriate social skills.

    I don’t think most parents require this of their college age babysitter.

    Let’s not forget that most people posting on this board would be nothing without having had some good teachers.

    If your jealous of their pensions or benefits, get your a$$ back in a CLASSROOM and become one.

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